Dakshin odyssey ends in Saraswathi Puja

Yes, my dakshinchitra odyssey continues. Considering the fact that only two states could be covered in one afternoon of shutter frenzy, my odyssey is actually incomplete. Someday soon I will go back and cover Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka – the ikat display, beckons. Till then let me complete my journey through Tamilnadu and Kerala. As you walk through the intersection of the two sections, at an interval of every thirty minutes, the sound of dolaks,idakkas and chendas (Indian percussion instruments) draw visitors to a makeshift performance stage. The beats are rudimentary in composition, nevertheless, can lull you into a trance. Artistes dressed as fisher folk from the south, play these compositions for a never ending stream of visitors. Here are some of my compositions of the performance.

Please click on the pictures to view an enlarged version:

I personally love the above picture for composition, color and the motion blur. Its my favorite photograph of this set.

As I woke out of the reverie of this trip and the processing of these pictures, I realised I was bang in the middle of the festival season here. The nine day extravaganza that we in India call – Navratri. Celebrated in different ways across the nation, the festival is in honour of the nine versions of the Goddess Shakthi. From Golu(a display of dolls like a christmas manger scene) to Dandiya ( a dance form), the festival is resplendent with revelry. At home though, we have a slightly muted puja to the Goddess Saraswathi at the very end of the nine days. We pay homage to the Goddess who imparts wisdom and knowledge and give her a well deserved day off. We offer fruits, flowers and all sorts of sweet meats as a sign of respect, thank you and as a sign of saying -‘I hope you will continue to impart some wisdom to me’.

The thing about India for most outsiders is that it is a sensory explosion in every way. There is a burst of color and flavor in every thing you see and everything you eat. Flavors and colors, that are sometime very unique to India. Pink and yellow are by far considered “gay” colors in America ( I apologize in advance to anything that sounds politically incorrect, but I state what is ,as is!), but men in India will not shun away from wearing such colors. Our most popular celluloid heroes wear bright pink t-shirts , on screen. Our puja times are no different, from the bright yellow chrysanthemums that adorn everything from gods to cars , to yellow bananas and red apples given as offerings – its feels like you are in wonderland ! A wonderland that is half willy wonka and half crayola’s lab. India, hence makes for a photographers delight! I take these colors in muted compositions to present a couple of pictures that border on the artsy side of photography(hey , its my blog and I get to call it what I want ;))

This first picture is my mother stringing loose chrysanthemums together to form a garland. Notice, how even the thread is a bright color explosion. There is always something to see in even the smallest of things.

The above picture is an experiment in photoshop , that I am yet to pass verdict on. If you have any thoughts, leave me a line. I’m finding it rather tough to soften the bottom edge of the bright flower, when I do figure it out I will post the refined version.

The last two days have been longs posts, but since they have been long overdue….I guess its’ okay. Enjoy and do remember to click on the pictures to see enlarged versions of the photographs.


Dakshin odyssey ends in Saraswathi Puja